New Delhi: BJP leader Arun Jaitley Tuesday praised President Pranab Mukherjee for “scuttling” the government move to pass anti-graft ordinances, saying he has set a precedent for the future.

In an article published Tuesday, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha quoted media reports, and said it was Mukherjee’s reluctance which “scuttled” the government’s decision to promulgate a certain set of ordinances under article 123.

“His memory for precedents and propriety has been unparalleled,” Jaitley said.

“The constitutionalist as the president can set a great precedent for the future.”

Jaitley said the president is bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers.

However, “an unstated function that the president has: He is vested with an undefined and unstated moral authority”.

“It is only a president who has the stature of a statesman commanding public respect that he can exercise this moral authority. For commanding that stature, the president must be perceived to be fair and a constitutionalist,” he said.

On the circumstances in which ordinances can be passed, Jaitley said both houses of parliament must not be in session, and secondly circumstances exist which render it necessary for the president to take immediate action.

“Surely, the desire of Rahul Gandhi to push a certain law so that he can claim to be part of the anti-corruption crusade is not a circumstance which calls for immediate legislation enactment through the ordinance route,” he said.

Jaitley targeted the Congress, saying the “grim prospects of the ruling party in the forthcoming elections may be a cause for concern for its party leaders. This is, however, an irrelevant consideration when it relates to the ordinance promulgating power”.

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